Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

February 2, 2014

Whatever happened to the shoelace kid?

Keith Kappes
The Independent

ASHLAND — The tavern had closed at midnight. The last three patrons were standing outside on the sidewalk, trying to decide whether to call it a night or find another place selling adult beverages at that hour.

Their discussion was abruptly interrupted when a speeding taxi skidded to the curb in front of them and the driver jumped out.

He was in a dead panic. His voice grew louder and louder as he asked frantically if anyone knew anything about babies.

Almost instinctively, the three fraternity brothers laughed nervously. Even the thought of a baby was scary at that stage of their lives.

Before anyone could answer, the cab driver said his passenger was having a baby in the back seat and that he didn’t have time to drive her to the hospital.

He pulled open the back door and all could hear the woman crying for help.

The cabbie had been flagged down on a nearby highway, but he didn’t know where to find the city’s hospital.

Luckily, the mother-soon-to-be already had two children and had the presence of mind to give the driver some instructions as her contractions became stronger and closer together.

One of the bystanders ran to a phone booth and called for an ambulance. This was years before cellphones.

Another of the guys charged into an adjoining street to flag down a police car or anyone to help.

The third onlooker stood there wondering what he could do to help when the cabbie yelled, “It’s a boy” and, sure enough, it was.

Then, of all things, the driver asked if anyone had a piece of cord or heavy string. He wanted to tie the umbilical cord before cutting it.

At that point, a shoelace was offered.

He quickly tied the cord and he and his two passengers roared off toward the hospital behind a police escort.

To this day, I wonder if the kid or his mama kept my shoelace as a souvenir.

KEITH KAPPES is publisher of The Morehead News, Olive Hill Times and Grayson Journal. Reach him at kkappes@cnhi.com